Monthly Archives: March 2010

Three Black & White eBook Winners

In my recent review of “The Magic of Black & White” eBook, I gave everybody a chance to enter a contest for a free copy. After just one day, we had around 43 entries posted! Awesome turnout… but it made for some hard decisions in choosing the winners.

It was a tough choice, but I finally narrowed down my selections to a street photo, a landscape, and an abstract. These three will receive a free copy of the book, and everybody else will just have to go buy it for $5.

Youth, by Gregory Tran

shot this candid on a subway platform in nyc late one evening… took me a little to gather the courage to kneel down right in front of these guys but i’m glad i eventually shot it… taken w canon xsi + 50mm/1.4

Church Inside the Sea, by Sino

Shot at Georgioupoli, Chania, Greece with an analog Canon EOS 30, a couple of years ago. I was experimenting with developing my own negatives & then scanning and editing them in Photoshop.

Treppenhaus Küppersmühle schwarz-weiss, by Olaf | YaYapas

Taken at the stairwell in the art museum Küppersmühle in Duisburg (Germany). The convolution of the light looks much better in black and white than in color. If you want to compare take a look at

[NOTE: Olaf already bought the book, so I'll let him pass along the prize to somebody else of his choice.]

And here are a couple of additional entries that caught my eye:

Again, a great set of entries for the contest — be sure to check out the rest of them in the comment section of the book review. And if you were waiting for the results of the contest, now is a good time to go buy the book!

Link Roundup 03-29-2010

Wow… tons of links this time around. After dividing up my Twitter accounts and becoming more active with it, I’ve been bookmarking a lot more content. I might need to find a better way to do these posts more often than every two weeks… looking into a few options this week.

Then again, if you’re on Twitter, you can just follow @EpicEdits for realtime updates and links like these. And if you’re on Delicious, you can see all of my photography bookmarks (some are never posted here on the blog).

eBook Review: The Magic of Black & White

[tweetmeme]I’m a real fan of black and white photography — doesn’t matter if it’s film or digital. There’s just something about it that can transform a photo so drastically by the “simple” removal of color.

So I was thrilled when my buddy Andrew Gibson contacted me about the release of his book on “The Magic of Black & White“. He’s a great photographer and his black & white photos are stunning — so I was certain that the book would be a good one.

I was right.

The book is a relatively quick read, but offers up a great number of tips, techniques, and guidance for black and white photography. It’s also beautifully illustrated with a ton of Andrew’s fine art work.

See the end of this post for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

“The Magic of Black & White, Part One – Vision” can be purchased through Craft & Vision. The links in this post are affiliate links.


The Magic of Black & White is a 58 page downloadable PDF eBook. The book is intended to be viewed in a two-page format (as you can see by the dashed lines in the samples below). Throughout the book, you’ll be presented with specific topics on black & white photography and large sample photos from Andrew’s collection of work.

After a few single-page “chapters” (Introduction, Why Black & White?, The Art of Black & White, and Learning to See in Monochrome), we dive into The Elements of Black & White Photography. This section covers many topics along the lines of tonal contrast, highlights, simplicity, minimalism, complexity, shape and form, texture, lines, foreground interest, negative space, shapes and patterns, and contrast. Each topic gives thoughtful insights and supporting imagery.

From there, we move on to Light in Black & White Photography, which covers the various lighting scenarios and how to use them to your advantage. The last main section goes into Subjects for Black & White Photography, and we look at several options where black & white may make more sense than color. This is all followed up by a conclusion and final thoughts from Andrew.


Andrew Gibson is a writer and photographer based in the south of England. He works for one of the UK’s leading photography magazines and also freelances. He loves to travel and one region he’s been drawn back to time and time again is South America, in particular Argentina and the Andean regions of Bolivia and Peru. He works in a ‘fine art documentary’ style and presents most of his work in black and white.

You can find Andrew’s work at his main website or at his blog. He’s also a regular contributor at Phototuts+, Smashing Magazine, and the Fine Art Photoblog. On top of all that, he’s an employee of EOS Magazine. Busy guy!


The eBook is longer than a blog article, but shorter than a printed book. I feel that the eBook medium is perfect for what is presented. Andrew gives a great introduction to black and white photography with content that strikes a perfect balance between educational and inspirational. It’s not so technical that the beginner will be lost, and not so “artsy-fartsy” that it isn’t informative — again, it’s just a great balance.

I would personally recommend this eBook to anybody looking to explore or improve their black & white photography. It will definitely get your gears turning and probably give you a few new ideas. At the time of publishing this review, the price of the book is $5 USD (subject to change at any time), which is a steal if you ask me.

Part Two of this book (to be announced) will examine the means of creating the black and white image in the digital darkroom. I’ll update you guys when it’s published.

“The Magic of Black & White, Part One – Vision” can be purchased through Craft & Vision.


[UPDATE 03-30-2010: The contest is over, and the winners have been selected]

[tweetmeme]Andrew has also given me a coupon code for 3 free eBooks to give out! I have a feeling that this particular contest will draw quite a few entries, so I’m limiting the entry period to ONE DAY (contest will end March 30, 2010 at 8am PDT). Here’s how you can enter for a chance at a free book:

1) Submit a photo and/or link to a black and white photo you’ve taken. The photo must be your own. Bonus points for supplemental descriptions.


2) Submit a Flickr Gallery (not a set — a gallery) of black and white photos. Curate a gallery and pop the link in the comments below. Bonus points for supplemental thoughts within the gallery and/or comment.

One entry per person; only the first entry for any given person will be considered. Again, ONE DAY for entries, and I’ll post a comment of my own stating the cut-off time — so if you don’t see the cut-off comment, feel free to post an entry.

20 Resources That Will Get You Lit

0233 - Domo Lightbulb
Creative Commons License photo credit: Aaronth

Lighting… It’s a complicated mixture of knowledge, equipment, and magic. You shouldn’t attempt it unless you’re a trained professional with lots of money and a big studio of your own. In addition, you’ll need to memorize thousands of rules and lighting setups in order for your photos to look decent.

Oh wait… forget what I just said. That’s just how it appears before you take the time to learn it.

[tweetmeme]I have to admit that I’m just starting that learning process, and I wanted to share some great resources recently suggested by the readers of Epic Edits. I’ve split up the links into lighting diagrams, lighting tutorials, lighting websites, and lighting courses/workshops. Start clicking!


4 lighting diagrams and sample shots from a fashion photographer.

16 simple lighting setups with simple explanations.

Documentation of a Project 52, including 11 lighting diagrams (and counting).


Five of the most basic portrait lighting techniques.

A great concept that shows a full spectrum of effects by moving a single light.

An exploration of simple lighting to achieve different effects on the same subject.

A collection of 33 video tutorials, mostly having to do with lighting techniques.

This playlist titled “Digital Photography 1 on 1″ has great lighting Q&A with examples.

A good example of the “less is more” motto — check out the photo and diagram!

An intuitive approach to photographic lighting — start with one!


Learning how to use off-camera flash with your dSLR.

Lighting, Photography, Fashion and Editorial Portraiture on Location and In Studio.

The blog of editorial photographer Zack Arias

Honestly Biased Insights on Photography by Syl Arena.

Articles by Chris Grey dealing with lighting techniques and equipment.

Many example photos and lighting diagrams for portraits.

Ok… so this one isn’t really a lighting resource, but the photos are awesome to study!


A nuts and bolts type of workshop — Off Camera. Manual Mode. Old School.

Learn to light without spending a fortune.

Online training for photographers — check out the stuff by McNally and Ziser.

[tweetmeme]Special thanks to Nathan Nontell, William Beem, Kris Mitchell, Steve, Shawn, Tomas Webb, Janne, Kunal Daswani, udi, Don Winkler, Mike Blanchard, Stefan Tell, Damien Franco, Jay, and Andrew Boyd for commenting on my previous post asking for lighting resources. You guys are awesome.

Canvas People Offering FREE 8×10 Canvas Prints!

[UPDATE 7/7/2010] This offer has expired, but a new one has taken its place.

I got an email today from the folks at Canvas People asking if I was interested in giving away some free canvas prints. At first I’m like “ok… what’s the catch?” — but after looking into it, the deal seems to be legit.

They’re offering up a $55 credit for any first time customers! This will get you one FREE 8×10 canvas print, and you just pay for shipping and handling.

You could also use that credit toward a larger size at a reduced cost (an 11×14 will run you $9.99). That’s a pretty awesome deal if you ask me.

[tweetmeme]The prints are also gallery wrapped and protective coated at no extra cost, meaning it will be ready to hang when it arrives. If you’ve been thinking about having a photo printed on canvas, try these guys out — you probably won’t find a better deal out there!

(This is an affiliate link — it costs you nothing, and it helps support Epic Edits)

I’ve Got a Good One Brewing…

Last week, I asked you guys for some links to lighting tutorials, sites, and resources. The response was great, and I’m working on putting these things together in a comprehensive blog post so they can be shared. This thing is turning out to be a big effort, and I should have it published by Thursday. So if you have any more links to cool lighting stuff, send them my way!

On a side note, I’m not posting the article Wednesday morning because I need to hit the hay early. I’ve got a promotional photo shoot for Green Man T-Shirts in the morning (5am) at DK3 Studiios!!! A local news station, KUSI (channel 9 on cable and channel 51 on dish), will be doing a couple 3 minute live segments in the morning at 6:25 and 6:50am. They’re also doing a teaser at 5:55am, so we’ll need time to set up and get things going by then.

Although the photo shoot on Wednesday is sort of a promotional thing, I’ll still be taking real photos and learning how to work the lighting equipment. This should help out for the real event on Saturday when we shoot all day long with 8 models and a whole pile of eco-friendly t-shirts.

So hang tight — I need to get some sleep so I don’t look like crap on the morning news, and I’ll post that epic lighting roundup soon enough!

PhotoDump 03-22-2010

More great stuff from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! This selection of photos is from those entered in the pool between 03/08/2010 and 03/22/2010. BTW… we’ll be hitting 30,000 photos in the pool within the next two weeks — very cool! (extra cool points because we limit submissions to 1/day/member)

wings by delvalle.Inspire by Joel Tjintjelaar, I've made in Photoshop based on image by Ricardo Galvão | ACE, Photoshop CS4.7239. by Android9Peace on the Horizon by shandopicsBarcelona by Sebastian.YEPESBehind Bars by kellinasfThe Giants Causeway by thefatcat44 (Doug Chinnery)cone by xgrayRetratos - Nuestra Gente by portafolio fotográfico - William LópezWaterskiing? by GH PatriotThe Violinist by Viet Dinhsimplicity by danny aspinallBlowin'! by lanskymob*you can't live in fear forever by 36rokkoVerticals by thefatcat44 (Doug Chinnery)Slide by Rex AuerDay 277 - Flashback by __multifacetedjovial by Yury TrofimovBlack and White Contemplation by Twitching Eyewalking the handbag by yellobagmanHoozer by henrikjMary's B-Day by Lomo-CamYour Eyes Are Shining by Chris Nixon.BrushingWind. by .orionine.

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Best Studio Lighting Tutorials?

So… it pains me to admit it, but I’ve turned a new page today. I finally learned something about artificial lighting (studio lighting to be exact).

I know… *gasp* say it isn’t so!

But don’t worry, I’m no expert quite yet. All I basically learned was that you set your camera to ISO100, f/8, and 1/200-1/250 seconds, then tune your exposure with the power settings on the lights (at least that’s the “norm” for this particular studio). Maybe not Earth-shattering for those familiar with lighting, but this is all new for me (and maybe some of you).

I’ve got a model shoot coming up next weekend for Green Man T-Shirts and I spent about an hour at DK3 Studios yesterday with Dave King learning how to work his equipment. (Cool dude, by the way. And an awesome/affordable studio here in San Diego).

I’m still blown away by how simple this stuff can be if you switch the camera over to manual and follow a few basic rules… maybe I’ll post more about this after the photo shoot next weekend, but right now I’m looking for advice.

Assuming that the technical side of the equipment is not the issue, I’m still up against lighting techniques for photographing models (upper body shots, portraits, etc.).


What are the best studio/model/portrait lighting techniques that you’ve encountered?

I’m looking for links to articles, resources, ebooks, blogs, etc. Here are a few that I’ve gathered myself…

I’m sure there are many more out there, so feel free to share in the comments. If we get enough, I’ll post them in an article next week so others can check it out.

Say Hi to the New Photography Blogs

Ronald Waves
Creative Commons License photo credit: ***Karen

I recently posted some tips for starting a new photography blog and I asked any new bloggers to promote their sites. I had actually expected more of a response, but we did get a few chiming in with their links (similar situation to the recent Twitter post… *hint, *hint). Is nobody blogging anymore? Or is everybody already blogging?!

At any rate, I thought it would be cool to give a shout to the new kids on the block and offer up some encouragement in their early days. Keep at it, you guys — your future returns will be proportional to the effort you put in now.

[tweetmeme]And for those new bloggers who didn’t drop a link… sorry! You missed the boat! That’s blogging for ya — be fast and get lucky.

Be sure to check out a few of these new blogs — you might like what you see (and you never know who will be the next “big thing” in the photography blogging community). Some of them strive to become a community pillar, others post for fun, and others are just exploring the whole blog thing. Whatever their reason may be, click through and see what they’re up to (a rush of new visitors is a huge source of encouragement for new bloggers).

My feed reader is almost filled to the brim, but I found several of these blogs worth adding to my list of follows. So, really… check ‘em out and welcome them to the community.